When Lilly Corporation began centralizing meeting services more than 10 years ago, the company looked to two major regions:
North America and Europe. Consolidation of meetings in the United States progressed at a consistent and steady pace. However,
almost every country in Europe had its own meetings management personnel, multiple department codes, and no standardized purchasing.
Further complicating the situation was the absence of a central force driving meetings management across the region. In addition,
the department to which meetings reported was inconsistent from country to country, and organizational goals for meetings
varied greatly as a result.
The situation called for solutions. Stepping up to the plate was Richard Darley, manager, Lilly European Travel and Fleet.
While not solely responsible for the strategic meetings management (SMM) program in Europe, Darley ended up playing a big
part in identifying and bringing together the various meeting-planning groups from the five major countries across the European
region to form a coordinated MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] team.
GLOBAL FACE OF PHARMA
Implementing successful global meetings management is demanding pharma's attention these days. The challenges of effective
sourcing, data management, return on investment, and positioning within the organizational infrastructure are driving the
search for innovative solutions to meet a multinational, multicultural business environment.
Organization and market barriers to meetings consolidation and alignment
A new report, "The View from the Other Side of the Pond" by Advito, an independent consulting unit of BCD Travel, in interviews
with key stakeholders with successful European SMM programs, provides a roadmap for achieving success across diverse markets.
"These results are possible despite the complications of languages and cultural differences in meetings consolidation," says
George Odom, Advito senior director Business Development. "Travel department decision makers at Pfizer, Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline
cite key best practices at the heart of their companies' successful global meetings programs."
While the primary components of meetings management (hotel, air, and ground transport) appear to follow transient travel practices,
the unique nature of the meetings sector can—when acknowledged within the organization—lead to overall cost savings and the
successful coordination of a SMM program.
Controlling meeting costs—advice from the experts
Key business differences exist between Europe and North America, specifically in hotel negotiations and meeting-space restrictions.
Proven success models, however, demonstrate that meetings management consolidation and alignment within the global organization
is a reality outside of the North American market.